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13:28, 27 June 2017 Tuesday
Update: 14:53, 20 March 2017 Monday

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Paris fraud squad offices evacuated over bomb scare
Paris fraud squad offices evacuated over bomb scare

An anonymous caller had told police that there was a bomb in the building that houses prosecutors investigating high-level financial crimes, a police source said.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Around 100 people were evacuated Monday from the offices of France's financial fraud prosecutors over a bomb alert, two days after an attack led to the evacuation of the city's second busiest airport.

Bomb disposal experts were sent to the site in central Paris, which was cordoned off.

The all-clear was given after "the usual checks" were carried out, the source said.

The financial fraud wing of the Paris criminal court is currently investigating Francois Fillon, the conservative candidate in France's April-May presidential election, on charges of misusing public funds.

It is also investigating the far-right National Front party of Marine Le Pen over alleged fake jobs.

The bomb scare comes after Saturday's attack at Orly airport where a man who had been investigated for links to radical Islam was shot dead after assaulting a soldier on patrol and grabbing her rifle.

It was the third in a string of incidents to hit France in recent days.

Last Thursday, a letter bomb sent by a Greek far-left group to the Paris offices of the International Monetary Fund injured a secretary.

That incident came the same day that a 16-year-old pupil opened fire at his school in southern France, wounding four fellow students and a teacher.



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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.